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“No view” on cannabis legalisation, says Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, as the Citizens’ Assembly on Drugs is expected in 2023

Dublin: Prime Minister Leo Varadkar takes a soft stance on cannabis and drugs. The Prime Minister has openly stated that he has no opinion on legalising these drugs. Leo Varadkar believes that the public should have a voice in the upcoming Citizens Assembly on drug policy.

Asked by the media whether he had taken drugs since entering national politics, Varadkar said no.

The Joint Parliamentary Committee on Justice, chaired by Fianna Fail TD James Lawless, has made a strong recommendation that the sale of drugs, including cannabis, be legalised.

It was at this stage that the Prime Minister responded that the government had no particular view on the matter and should let the Citizens’ Assembly decide. Varadkar said there is no prejudice regarding this decision.

The parliamentary committee also suggests that the government consult with all political parties in order to develop a healthy approach to drug use, that the drug market be legalised in Ireland, and that drugs currently available on the black market be made available through a regulated market.

The chairman also claims that by imposing a licence on the drug market, the drug market can be monitored, controlled, and checked, and security can be ensured. The report also recommends that social clubs conduct more research into the pros and cons of this policy.

The criticism is that Varadkar has chosen to downplay a report with such serious recommendations.

He points out that previous assemblies have worked to deal with serious issues such as the removal of the Eighth Amendment from the Constitution. That intervention has already occurred in the case of marriage equality. Similarly, Varadkar stated that after biodiversity and local government reform in Dublin, the Citizens Assembly will be given the opportunity to intervene in drug policy. The Citizens Assembly is expected to begin in 2023. However, no dates have been announced as of yet.

At the same time, Gino Kenny of People Before Profit introduced a private bill in the Dáil to decriminalise the possession of up to seven grammes of cannabis for personal use.

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